Chris Miller

Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Prepare For Severe Weather This Spring

A reminder from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for “local” readers of Survival And Prosperity:

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

February 27, 2015

Tornadoes, floods and severe storms can happen any time of year

SPRINGFIELD – Believe it or not, warm weather soon will return to Illinois. As exciting as that sounds, warmer temperatures also mean an increased potential for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding.

To help people prepare for severe weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies throughout March to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards.

“We can’t prevent dangerous storms from occurring,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “However, there are ways to prepare to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes. We encourage everyone to learn more about severe weather hazards, identify a safe place to go during storms, and assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit. These actions could help save your life or the life of your loved ones.”

Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops. In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.

“Although the typical peak time for severe storms in Illinois is April through June, events of the past three years have proven otherwise.” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill. “Nearly half of all tornadoes in Illinois since January 2012 have occurred during the fall and winter months. This underscores just how important it is to be ‘Weather Ready’ all year in Illinois.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925. Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).

Visit IEMA’s website here for more information on emergency preparedness.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Win 1 Of 100 Weather Alert Radios As Part Of Severe Weather Preparedness Month In Illinois

Illinois residents- it’s that time of year again:

Severe Weather Preparedness Month

From a February 28, 2013, press release from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA):

Online Contest Launched to Raise Awareness of Weather Alert Radios
Local, State Emergency Management Officials to Encourage Severe Weather Preparedness in March

SPRINGFIELD – On Feb. 29, 2012, a deadly tornado tore through the Southern Illinois communities of Harrisburg and Ridgway shortly before 5 a.m. With most people still sleeping, many didn’t hear the outdoor warning sirens blaring or warnings issued on radio and TV stations.

Eight people lost their lives and more than 100 others were injured as a result of the tornado. Fortunately, some residents were awakened by alarms broadcasted over their weather alert radios and were able to seek shelter before the tornado hit.

In an effort to increase public awareness of weather alert radios, local and state emergency management officials today launched a statewide contest. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are sponsoring the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest, in which participants will take an online quiz for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radio to be awarded.

The contest will be highlighted throughout March, which is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Having a weather alert radio in your home can be a real lifesaver, much like a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Each of these devices can alert you to hazards, even while you’re sleeping, and give you time to get to a safe place.”

The contest is available on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), the IESMA website (www.iesma.org) and on many county and municipal emergency management agency websites. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. The contest runs from Feb. 28 through March 31. Winners will be announced in April.

“Every home and business should have a weather alert radio,” said IESMA President Russ Thomas.

IESMA purchased the weather alert radios as part of a program to increase emergency preparedness in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and government buildings throughout Illinois. During 2013 and 2014, IESMA plans to place 800 weather alert radios in local facilities.

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties.

When an alert is issued for the programmed area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

“Despite the drought last year, Illinois still had dozens of tornadoes and hundreds of severe thunderstorms that damaged property, injured 125 and tragically killed nine people,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “This underscores how important it is for people to be prepared at all times. You should identify a place at home and work to take shelter from tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and have multiple ways to receive hazardous weather information, such as apps for electronic devices or a weather alert radio.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding and recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events.

The guide also includes definitions of important weather terms, including watches, warnings and advisories and a list of items needed for a family emergency supply kit. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925.

I just got done taking the online quiz as part of the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest. The five-question quiz is easy- but be sure to read that information they provide about weather alert radios first.

I’m a big fan of weather alert radios. Even if you don’t win one through this contest, I highly-recommend going out and getting one anyway if you don’t have one already.

Good luck! And thanks to the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) for sponsoring the contest.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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March Is ‘Severe Weather Preparedness Month’ In Illinois

Before I forget, speaking of severe weather in the Midwest, March is “Severe Weather Preparedness Month” here in Illinois. From a February 28 Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release:

Local, State Emergency Management Officials Launch Weather Alert Radio Contest

March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Local and state emergency management officials today launched a statewide contest aimed at increasing awareness and use of weather alert radios. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are sponsoring the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest, in which participants will complete an on-line quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The contest will be highlighted throughout March, which is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“2011 was one of the worst years for tornado deaths in the U.S. in the past 60 years,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Fortunately, Illinois didn’t experience these terrible storms, but we never know when or where the next deadly storm could strike. Weather alert radios are a key tool for alerting people to approaching danger, day or night, and every home should have one.”

The contest is available on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), the IESMA website (www.iesma.org) and on many county and municipal emergency management agency websites. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. The contest runs from Feb. 28 through March 31. Winners will be announced in April.

“Through this contest, we hope to make people in Illinois more aware of the importance of weather alert radios as part of their personal preparedness kit,” said IESMA President Chuck Genesio. “Much like a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector alerts people to those dangers, weather alert radios warn people of hazards outside the home so they have time to seek shelter or take other actions to stay safe.”

IESMA purchased the weather alert radios in 2010 and 2011 as part of a program to increase emergency preparedness in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and government buildings throughout Illinois. Nearly 7,300 weather alert radios were distributed for placement in these facilities through the program, which was funded with $172,420 in federal homeland security grant funds allocated by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The 100 radios distributed as part of the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest will help Illinois residents better prepare for emergencies.

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

“Tornadoes do not just occur during the day,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “In Illinois, 30% of all tornadoes occur at night when it can be difficult to hear outdoor warning sirens from inside your home, especially if you are asleep. The best way to be warned about tornadoes at night is to have a weather alert radio in your home. It is like having your own personal storm siren.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding and recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. The guide also includes definitions of important weather terms, including watches, warnings and advisories and a list of items needed for a family emergency supply kit. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925.

Lots of useful info for Illinois residents. And the contest sounds cool- I’ll have to check it out.

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